Allan R. Sharp Religion in Life Series Features “The Role of Music in Religion in Appalachia”

Steve and Ruth Smith
Steve and Ruth Smith

WILSON, N.C. – Barton College is pleased to welcome Steve and Ruth Smith as the featured guests for the 2009 Allan R. Sharp Religion in Life Series set for Thursday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. The Smiths’ performance and lecture, to be held in Hardy Alumni Hall, will focus on “The Role of Music in Religion in Appalachia.”  This event is open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

Steve and Ruth Smith have been playing Celtic and Appalachian music together for over 30 years. For this year’s Allan R. Sharp Religion in Life Series event, the duo will perform and discuss Celtic influences on Appalachian religious music. Ruth plays the hammered and Appalachian mountain dulcimers, while Steve joins in on acoustic guitar and banjo.

Ruth studied music at the University of Illinois, and her hammered dulcimer compositions have been featured on NPR’s “All Songs Considered.”  Steve earned a Master of Arts degree in Appalachian Studies with an emphasis in Appalachian music and folk life from Appalachian State University.  Since 1997, he has taught audio production/recording at Appalachian State University.  Steve is an American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers award winner, and both Ruth and Steve have worked in the music industry in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, and they have traveled internationally as ambassadors of Appalachian music. Their 2007 CD, “Dancin Cross the Strings,” was featured on Fiona Ritchie’s “Thistle & Shamrock.” For additional information about the Smiths, visit their web site at

Established in 1991, the Allan R. Sharp Religion in Life Series brings to campus each fall semester distinguished performers and lecturers who focus on topics of practical Christian significance for the general public relating to contemporary issues. This lecture series was named in honor of Dr. Allan R. Sharp, professor emeritus of religion and philosophy, at the time of his retirement.  The late Dr. Sharp served on the Barton College faculty from 1953 – 1991.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Rodney A. Werline, Marie and Leman Barnhill Endowed Chair in Religious Studies at Barton College, at 252-399-6447 or email:


Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: